2020 was a year that changed history, and New Venture Fund was proud to play a role helping respond to global challenges and improving the health and wellbeing of people and the planet.
New Venture Fund exists to allow nonprofits and philanthropists to maximize the impact of their charitable work. The immense need in 2020 led to growth throughout the philanthropic sector, and NVF was no exception. Giving to NVF grew significantly in 2020 as our projects responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight for racial justice, and the vast economic and health challenges facing people in America and around the world.
Once again this year, NVF is posting its most recent Form 990 filed with the IRS, which details the financial health of the organization and lists the various groups that received grants from NVF projects in 2020.
NVF is a fiscal sponsor, which means we provide the infrastructure nonprofits need so they can focus on delivering change. 2020 was a proving year for the fiscal sponsorship model. This structure allows philanthropy to respond urgently when needs arises. We do this by shouldering the administrative burden associated with running a nonprofit and use our expertise to help new projects get up off the ground quickly.
A crisis of enormous scale that emerged seemingly overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic perfectly makes the case for fiscal sponsorship philanthropy. Through fiscal sponsorship, NVF enabled resources to get to effected people and without the timely drag of setting up an entirely new organization. For example, the James Beard Foundation worked with NVF to quickly stand up a grant program to provide a lifeline for restaurants and workers disrupted by lockdowns. Millions of dollars went to support hundreds of mostly small restaurants in need.
When COVID-19 struck, the city of Oakland, California turned to New Venture Fund to quickly mobilize a relief fund that helped provide housing support and direct cash assistance, among other things. With NVF’s expertise and through the fiscal sponsorship approach, the program was up and running in just days, taking in millions of dollars that were rapidly distributed throughout the community.
NVF projects’ work on COVID-19 extended to ensuring people could safely participate in the 2020 elections and decennial census. NVF explicitly does not engage in partisan activities or support any political campaigns, but it did play a meaningful role in supporting the infrastructure of democracy. One project helped recruit poll workers so that the polling places were staffed and people could safely vote in person. Another raised and distributed more than $50 million for the 2020 Census to strengthen on-the-ground efforts that made sure people understood the process and participated so that we could have an accurate count.
The pandemic was of course not all that shook the country in 2020. The year was also defined by an awakening to racial injustice in America. NVF is proud to support projects fighting to advance racial equity and turn newfound urgency into real progress. The Partnership Funds, for example, is focused on breaking down entrenched structures and building independent political power for and through organizations that center the experiences of impacted groups, including multi-racial, women of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ.
NVF’s philanthropy is also global in reach and our projects work to provide clean drinking water, education for poor children, and health care for people around the world. In fact, the single largest individual contribution to NVF in 2020 was a gift to Co-Impact, a project hosted at NVF; Co-Impact is a global philanthropic collaborative, supported by a growing pool of funders, that supports Global South-focused initiatives to make systems just and inclusive and advance women’s leadership at all levels.
2020 was an extraordinary year, and the work that NVF and fiscal sponsorship enabled made a meaningful impact on countless lives. We are proud of the role we were able to play to make world a healthier, more equitable place.
You can download a copy of our 2020 IRS Form 990 here.